“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Pianists have Questions: Don't Be Afraid to Ask

     When I was a teenage pianist and intimidated by authority, it never occurred to me to ask a question. "What do you mean by 'get after that,'" I should have asked. "Your playing is dishonest" should have raised my hackles and brought about at least a raised eyebrow. 
       I had the privilege of studying under some great artist-teachers who had been child prodigies. They were doers rather than sayers, so probably didn't know very much about how they did it, technically speaking. One of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, Vladimir Horowitz, when
Vladimir Horowitz
asked to teach at the Juilliard School, famously replied, "I wouldn't know what to tell the students because I don't know how I do it."

         Now I know how to "get after" a technical problem and how to be "honest" technically. So, if any of you, dear readers, have a question, fire away and I'll try to help. When I first started this blog, I made a similar offer, but in the meantime the comments link broke. Sigh. I'm happy to report that it is repaired. If you would like to ask something, please be as specific as possible and I'll post a reply as soon as I can. 


Mary G said...

I have a problem playing the alternating-hands fingering the editor (or was it Grieg himself) has in Grieg's "Holberg Suite op. 40" first movement, right after the repeat. Specifically, in measures 19 - 20 and the same pattern in measures 23 - 24 I find the alternating right and left hands so difficult that it makes me wonder if the design is to limit the tempo these sixteenth notes can go, or insure they will be played clearly and cleanly? I can go faster just playing the entire passages in the right hand! Now, on other spots I CAN do the alternating fingering, but those are different patterns and work okay.

Neil Stannard said...

Thanks for the question, Mary. I'll post some observations the blog soon.